Hexbyte – Science and Tech Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $199, and Nintendo’s Switch bundle sale continues – The Verge

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $199, and Nintendo’s Switch bundle sale continues – The Verge

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

The Apple Watch Series 3 is back down to $199 for the 38mm model with GPS connectivity. This matches the lowest price that we’ve seen for Apple’s third-gen smartwatch, but if you’re looking for more savings (and are itching to leave your phone at home while you go out for a jog), the GPS-equipped and LTE-ready version starts at $259 at B&H Photo, while Best Buy and Amazon have it starting at $299 in case B&H sells out.

It’s March 11th, which means that Nintendo’s “MAR10” day celebration, which discounted several Nintendo Switch games starring Mario, is over. But part of the promo continues until March 16th: you can purchase a Nintendo Switch for $299 (its regular price) and get a $30 discount on Super Mario Party, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, or Mario Tennis Aces. This deal is available at Walmart, Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, and Target, both online and at your local store.

Hexbyte - Science and Tech 428: Shibuya Scramble

428: Shibuya Scramble

Meanwhile, 428: Shibuya Scramble (PS4) is $24.99 at Amazon. The game originally launched in Japan on the Nintendo Wii, but Spike Chunsoft recently brought this acclaimed title to the PC and PS4. It’s a game that fans of Danganronpa, Zero Escape, and the Ace Attorney series will likely enjoy, according to my colleague Sam Byford, who reviewed the game to mark the release of its English localization. He says that 428 is “an important part of Japanese gaming history, and you’ve never played anything like it. It’s also absolutely fantastic.”

Amazon’s Echo (second-generation) smart speaker is current available for $74.99 (it’s usually $99.99). The best price that we’ve seen on this model is $69.99, but at $5 more, it’s still a good buy if you’re looking for a speaker that you can control with voice commands.

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Valve Parts Ways With Artifact Creator Richard Garfield, Lays off 13 Others – IGN

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Valve Parts Ways With Artifact Creator Richard Garfield, Lays off 13 Others – IGN

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

Valve parted ways with Richard Garfield, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Artifact.

Late last week, Valve confirmed to Variety that it had laid off 13 employees and a number of its contractors, one of which was lead Artifact designer and Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield.

According to an an email Garfield sent to Artifact fan site Artibuff, both he and Skaff Elias (the two of which make up a game design consulting company called Three Donkeys) were among the contractors let go by Valve, a decision Garfield said “makes sense for a number of reasons.”

You see Garfield play a match of Artifact with me in the video below:

Garfield explained that they “weren’t surprised by the layoff considering how rocky [Artifact’s] launch was.” Artifact released in late November to general praise – I gave it an 8.5 in my review, and still think it’s a very unique and fun digital card game – but issues stemming partially from its progression and economy caused its player base to fall off rapidly. In the last 30 days, its average concurrent players has been less than 600.

While Garfield maintains they were confident with Artifact, he said “it became clear it wasn’t going to be easy to get the game to where we wanted it.” He explained that the decision to lay Three Donkeys off made sense partly because their expertise was less valuable after working with Valve closely for more than four years, and partly because it will be important for the Artifact team to make decisions more quickly post-launch, which is harder to do with more voices chiming in.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily spell death for Artifact. Moving between different projects and companies is generally what Garfield and Three Donkeys do – for example, Garfield was also the lead designer of a card game called KeyForge which he developed with Fantasy Flight Games and released right around the same time as Artifact. Valve has been notoriously silent around Artifact for the last month and a half, but a surprise patch back on January 28th ended with a line that simply said “Unchanged: Still in it for the long haul.”

That silence is not necessarily out of style for Valve either, as Jeep Barnett from the Artifact team told me back in August that the way they address feedback is by “making changes to the game and trying to ship features.” Barnett said that “rather than just speaking and saying we’re going to do this thing, we actually just go and do that thing.”

A Valve rep also said the layoffs as a whole are “an unfortunate part of business, but [do] not represent any major changes at the company.” Similarly, reportedly among the core staff layoffs were members of the VR hardware team, but Gabe Newell allegedly confirmed in an email that this “was a people thing, not a hardware thing,” further indicating that we probably shouldn’t jump to any conclusions about what it means for the developers plans.

Meanwhile, Valve has been fighting battles in a different area altogether. It recently had to bar another intentionally offensive game from Steam – a decision I agreed with, but think doesn’t solve the root of Steam’s curation problems.

Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker, and he still likes card games a lot. You can follow him on Twitter.